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Tackling Challenges and Embracing Opportunities Through Analytics and AI

Posted on: February 14, 2024

This opinion piece was contributed by one of the editors, Mehul S Raval, Associate Dean – Experiential Learning and Professor, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Ahmedabad University, Ahmedabad, India.

1. What are the current issues faced by the healthcare industry?

There is a need for more medical professionals around the globe, resulting in long waits for appointments, sometimes lasting months. Awareness about the disease is absent in developing countries due to lower literacy and income. As a result, many miss the treatment. Also, technology penetration in the medical domain is rising linearly, and medical practitioners take time to adapt. Moreover, trust in AI-generated decisions is absent as they need more interpretability and explainability. Therefore, the workflow of decision-making in the medical domain could be smoother.  

2. How do the analytics and AI help to address these challenges?

Actionable and explainable AI improves workflow and decision-making, and machine learning can identify the patterns and trends of disease prevalence in the demographics and areas with limited healthcare services. This information can be used for awareness campaigns and deputation of the medical staff. Ideas like Telemedicine provide timely medical consultation with AI-powered telemedicine solutions to reduce the need for physical presence.

Predictive analysis can forecast the healthcare workforce needed in a specific region. Electronic Health Records (EHR) can manage the updated records of the patients, which are available online anywhere. Medical Practitioners should be trained to use AI tools and EHRs. The introduction of Explainable AI facilitates trust in AI-generated decisions, which make the AI tool's decision transparent, enhancing trust among medical practitioners and patients.

3. What are the new opportunities and benefits of using these modern technologies?

Modern technologies offer real-time diagnosis of a life-threatening disease, autonomous disease detection, risk assessment, and disease surveillance on a large scale. It facilitates clinical standards, and a 360-degree view of the data brings everyone on one platform. It develops a system that collects, analyzes, and provides feedback automatically. It dramatically facilitates real-time data analysis, detailed medical imaging and diagnosis, remote surgery, and personalized medical care.

4. What are the potential challenges in the adoption of these technologies?

Some potential challenges are data quality and availability, data security, communication and network security, ethical concerns, standardization of protocols, interoperability issues, and compliance with many conflicting requirements. There is also the need for understanding the AI technologies by the practitioners. They are hesitant to implement the new technology approaches as they need to trust the outcomes or be able to interpret the data. The significant challenges are healthcare practitioners' and patients' acceptance of such technologies and cultural and organizational resistance.

5. Why do you think it's important that healthcare professionals keep up to date with the latest technological developments in the healthcare industry? 

New technologies allow practitioners to gather more data in a digestible format, making their training strategies more efficient and accurate. Experts can utilize the data to focus on their game and training strategies more precisely and proactively. Healthcare professionals must keep up to date with the latest technological developments in the healthcare industry to take advantage of such technologies for timely treatment, keep patients' records updated, and reduce time in medical diagnosis.